Mattis Sought Congress Vote Before Syria Strikes, Trump Overruled Him

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In just a matter of weeks, this is the second time the president and defense secretary have not been on the same page over Syria.

James Mattis

In response to a suspected chemical gas attack on a rebel-held town in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, which killed dozens of people, President Donald Trump ordered “precision” strikes targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons capabilities.

It has now emerged, in a New York Times report, that Defense Secretary James Mattis reportedly recommended Trump to get congressional approval before the U.S. launched airstrikes. However, the president rejected his suggestion.

Before the United States, France and the United Kingdom pounded Syria with airstrikes, in a series of aggressive tweets, Trump gave Russia and Iran a heads up he would fire missiles.

“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!' You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!” he wrote in a tweet.

 

 

 

 

The tweets are actually a reason Trump went ahead and acted upon the plan because according to military officials, the president wanted to back his tweets by action and wanted a rapid and dramatic response.

The incident comes into light as Trump ousted former National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster and appointed John Bolton as the new adviser.

Bolton and Mattis disagree on some of major national security issues that the United States faces. The new national security adviser is a hawk who has advocated using military force against Iran and North Korea and has also taken a hard line against Russia.

In just a matter of weeks, this is the second time the president and defense secretary have not been on the same page over Syria.

Trump reportedly told military leaders to withdraw troops from Syria so he can bring them home within a few months. However, later in a meeting with his national security team, he reluctantly agreed to keep U.S. troops in the country.

The president reportedly changed his mind after Mattis and other national security aides told him that withdrawing troops at this point would be unfavorable for the United States and they needed some more time to make sure the ISIS doesn’t regain ground.

The commander-in-chief agreed and said as long as the operation lasted months and not years, he “can support that.”

The incident, once again, highlights Trump’s troubled relationship with his aides.

Just recently, the president directly contradicted U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley’s statement. The U.S. envoy insisted new sanctions will be imposed on Russia to send a “strong message” against their support of the Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad.

However, Trump decided to not impose any new sanctions on Russia after the alleged chemical attack on Syria by the Assad regime.

Spotlight, Banner: Reuters, Kevin Lamarque

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